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Contact Kathy
406-546-5134
kmjjag66@hotmail.com

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What is Sports Psychology and when is it useful
in the Equine World?

Many students and coaches are confused about the role of Sports Psychology and its effects on horseman and their equine partner. Sports psychology is a part of sports science which studies human behavior in any sports environment. It demonstrates the benefits of mental training and how this affects a person’s performance.

The goal of sports psychology is to help riders perform at their best by learning how to use mental conditioning along with the obvious physical skills needed to ride, train and show horses. Sports psychology is not about working with clients who have emotional, or mental issues or those that suffer from abnormal behavior (depression, abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse etc.).

Mental training or Performance Coaching is the part of sports psychology that concentrates specifically on teaching students skills to stay focused, calm, alert, confident, instinctive and challenged while still having fun and remaining positive while riding. It teaches students the skills to reach their peak performance anytime, anywhere.

I prefer to use the title Performance Coach because I believe my students can relate to this title better than “sports psychologist”. I make sure my students understand that I am not trained in traditional "psychopathology” nor have a license to practice psychology. My professional background is in education, equine studies, coaching and sports psychology. My experience also comes from the equine world as a former rider, competitor, coach, author and clinician. As well as being a performance coach for the past 10 years to my students.

Unfortunately for performance coaches the field of “psychology” still carries a negative stigma because many people perceive sports psychology as dealing with abnormal individuals or problem students. However, this is not what I do in performance coaching. My role is to help riders develop mental skills for success in the equine world. I work with people who want to perform better with their horses. My goals are to teach students how to be more patient, confident, focused, stay composed under pressure, practice more effectively and develop better timing and feel when handling their horses. I become part of my students support team.

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